Education is the sole key through which a state can develop itself, and can strive towards progress. Without it, we are nothing. Education for transgenders has completely been ignored in Pakistan for a very long time, just like further education for women is often not thought to be fit for the girls in our society.
However, an institution has taken up the job to impart free education to the transgender community in Pakistan, so they can help towards the progress as a nation as well. The Allama Iqbal Open University was established back in 1974 with the objective of imparting education to those who cannot leave their homes or jobs due to certain reasons.
Ever since, the university has done a lot more than it had aimed to. Today it offers over 2000 courses, and offers free education to those who cannot afford it from matric onto the PhD level. Education for women isn’t focused on in our society, due to several reasons. Considering the religious and cultural mindset, girls are not allowed to leave the houses. Hence, AIOU provides education to these girls on their doorstep.
Similarly, the transgender community in our society has been neglected from the start. They are often not considered humans, disowned by their families, loathed by the society, and not allowed education or given jobs.
However, AIOU is striving to change this mindset of our society, as the institution wishes to empower this third gender as well so they can blend in our society and play a vital role towards its progress. Imparting free education for transgenders is a big step this university is taking, and we believe it will go a long way.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Shahid Siddiqui, mentioned that
‘We have decided to launch a programme for the amelioration of the transgender people of Pakistan. Through this programme, we hope to return their long lost self respect and dignity, and make them responsible citizens of the society’
Applicants were asked to approach the university for their admission for the fall of 2017, by September 28, which has now been extended to October 10.
Education for transgenders is a great initiative towards the progress in the field of education of Pakistan in general. We hope this will have a great turn out, and that this third community will be seen on top posts in the upcoming decades in Pakistan.